A few days ago I headed over to the Myrorna (Salvation Army) at Ropsten — this is the giant one with three floors packed with furniture, housewares, books, pictures, shoes, sporting goods, clothes for men, women and children… you name it, they seem to have it (or at least, something related to it). On a previous visit, where we had dropped off bags of stuff and miraculously emerged with nothing purchased, Matt and I had ogled a water carbonation device, leaded glass candleholders from Orrefors, clothes we didn’t need and more.
It’s a triumph to get away from there without buying something. Usually we end up with clothes, and as I’ve written before, they have a brilliant campaign on about finding your own style. Gems are always hidden in the mix, but you have to have the patience to search. Half the stuff on the racks seems to have been there for years or at least, recently cast off by someone who bought it new, say, 30 years ago.
In fashion, old becomes new again. The next generation that didn’t have to wear bell-bottom jeans in the 1970s the first time, and the 1990s the second time, might be super keen to find a pair in good shape in the 2010s.
But they are most likely not as keen to find their grandmothers’ sheets.
I nearly bought a few of the heavy cotton cover sheets with lace tatting, of such fine quality to me today, but which were perhaps considered everyday cotton, purchased from a homegoods purveyor on Gamla Stan, sometime last century. That quality cotton is not cheap these days, but it’s also on the list of things that are no longer the norm. Cheap duvets from fast fashion are more likely to be in our closets.
I might long for thick cotton sheets, but I don’t want to wash and iron them. They are on the list of historical items gone by, habits set aside for cheaper-better-faster-plastic-electronic-whatnot. Also on that list, of course, are books and tea sets. And that’s what got me thinking about this more carefully, as I left Myrorna after this last visit: Both items filled their allotted spaces in the cavernous Myrorna shop.
To me, a room full of books is heavenly. I’d love to have a library room of my own. But this is antiquated technology — as passé as the gravy boat and gold-rimmed full-service fine china that also finds its way to Myrorna. EBooks are more the norm today as well.
Maybe these old habits — reading on paper, drinking tea from porcelain — will be resurrected as curiosities or by small fanatical devotees. But it’s not likely. This shop is also a museum. Myrorna is the bellwether of where our societies are heading, according to what they’ve left behind.